Review: The Very Best of Tad Williams

written by David Steffen

Tad Williams is the well-known and talented SF author who wrote such well known works as TailChaser’s Song, the Otherland series, and the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series. Most people know him best for his novels, but what many people don’t know is that he is also a master of the short story form. Many writers have a strong tendency toward one or the other, but Tad Williams tackles both with equal aplomb.

If you want to check out some of Tad’s short story work, there’s no better place than The Very Best of Tad Williams, out this week from Tachyon Publications. It is comprised of eleven short stories written by Williams, one of them in a screenplay format. To get a sample of what’s in the book, you can check out StarShipSofa’s audio adaptation of Child of an Ancient City, which is one of the stories that appears in this volume.

My favorite in the bunch were:

The Storm Door
A paranormal investigator has been looking into an unrecedented increase in ghostly posessions by the dead. At the beginning the story seemed very familiar, but stick with it, it didn’t go where I expected.

The Stranger’s Hand
A strange pair of vagrants wander into town, one of them a mute with the ability to give anyone their heart’s desire. soon people are coming to the town from many miles around to visit the mute stranger. But who are they? What do they want?

Black Sunshine
This is the lone screenplay in the bunch. I’m not used to reading screenplays so I admit the format took a little bit of getting used to. This is a story told in two times–a group of kids going through a traumatic experience and those same people grown up coming back to their hometown to confront their past. Solid story. I’d like to see the movie if it’s been filmed.


I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.